Team Barloworld at the presentation ceremony for this year's Tour

Team Barloworld at the presentation ceremony for this year's Tour

What a bum ride the Barloworld team have had in this year’s Tour. Last year the team made the Tour as a wild card entry and proved their worth with stage wins from Robert Hunter and Mauricio Soler. Soler also went on to win the overall King of the Mountains competition.

With a team poised for success in the year’s Tour, nothing could go wrong. Or so we thought. Soler crashed on the first stage and after a few kilometres into stage 5 pulled out of the event with a fractured wrist.

On stage 11, the team lost Colombian Felix Cardenas and Italian Paolo Longo on Wednesday’s 11th stage. Cardenas, a former stage winner in both the Tour and the tour of Spain, injured a tendon in his left leg. Longo fractured his a collarbonein a crash around the 50km mark of the same stage. To add to the team’s misfortune that day, Moises Duenas tested positive for banned substances (ie. blood booster EPO).

And just when things couldn’t get any worse, Australian Baden Cooke became the team’s fifth rider to leave the Tour. After crashing in the early parts of yesterday’s stage 12, Cooke decided enough was enough and pulled out the Tour.

The South Africa sponsored (but British-registered outfit) are now down to just four riders: Robert Hunter, John Lee Augustyn, Gianpaolo Chuela and Christopher Froome.

Let’s hope they can make the remaining nine stages (if you include today’s stage) as a foursome, and maybe pull a stage victory out of the bag too (no pressure at all on you Hunter)?

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